Sunday, October 24, 2010

San Francisco Giants and My Father's Ghost

My family has lived in California since January of 1954, when we moved here from Joplin, Missouri.  I fell in love with the place right away, enchanted by the palm trees, the orange trees, the salty smell of the sea mixed with the fragrance of citrus.  Eventually, we settled in San Jose and went through all the phases of life, finishing school, launching careers, choosing mates and having children.  Along the way we naturally adopted loyalties to our local sports teams, and most of my family are strong fans of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.

My loyalty to the Giants was cemented in 1962, when they played the New York Yankees in the World Series. It was a very close series, with no team winning two games in a row.  The Yankees won the 7th game, 1-0, in the 9th inning and of course, it broke my heart.  I was sure the Giants would be back the following year to complete their march to glory.  However, they wouldn't be back in the World Series for 27 years, until 1989, when they were swept in four games by the Oakland A's.

My father, now deceased, was a Giants fan.  The last thing we ever did together was to watch a Giants game on television in June of 1991.  The Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2 - 0.  My dad mentioned that the Giants were looking competent and scrappy as he headed for the door on that Sunday afternoon.  I never saw him conscious again.  I know how much a Giants win in the Word Series would have meant to him.

Finally, in 2002 the Giants returned to the World Series against the California Angels.  After five games the Giants led the series 3 games to 2, and their last victory was a 16-4 blowout over the Angels.  In Game 6, the Giants led 5 - 0 going into the 7th inning and things were looking rosy.  We were pretty confident that the Giants would win one of the two remaining games to take the series.  We were wrong.  In the 6th game, with three innings left to play, their 5 - 0 advantage became a 6 - 5 final score in favor of the Angels.  Their spirit broken, the Giants lost the 7th and deciding game 4 - 1.  We became only too acutely aware that, if it were at all possible, the Giants would find a way to lose.  At that point, I dismissed all hopes of a Giants World Series victory in my lifetime, and turned my attention to other things.  This month, however, I learned that the Giants had made the playoffs.  Though very cynical about their chances, I watched the games.  Incredibly, the Giants were up 3 games to 2 headed into game 6.  Would they blow it once again?

Last night I watched the Giants pitcher load the bases in the 9th inning.  I was sure the Phillies would score at least one run to tie the game and send it into overtime; but the pitcher came through, striking out the final batter and winning the game.

It's funny, but the Giants got their name from winning a close game over the Phillies, about 100 years ago (literally).  The manager of the Gothams (as the Giants were then called) stormed into the locker room and shouted, "My big fellows!  My giants!"  The name was subsequently changed to the Giants.

So the Giants will face the Texas Rangers in the World Series.  I would have preferred that they face the Yankees, as I like the Rangers and would root for them against any other opponent.  But this will have to do.  So for this moment, we Giants fans have hope.  Maybe, just maybe, the Giants will win their first World Series in California (the last time they won was as the New York Giants, in 1954).  On to the World Series!  Go Giants!


Stogie Jr said...

Great Story Pop!

I know just what ya mean. When they lost to the Angels I was depressed for a week. Grandpa would be torn on this series. I think though he would root for the Giants. I always said once before I die....I hope I'm not jinxing myself. It was great to see the Rangers beat the lousy Yankees....I despise the Yankees and it was nice to see a Southern ball club beat the best team money can buy! I am just like Ma though. I can't watch, I want to watch, but every time I do they lose. So I flip the channel back and forth to get updates. Last night was to intense I couldn't sit still, and they say baseball is boring. It's the most intense game ever to be invented. I have never cared for the Hippies and Politicians of San Fran, but I have always loved the city itself....and of course my beloved GIANTS!!!

Let's go SF. Just one series for my ol' Pappy!

bro said...

As a loyal Texan I will root for the Rangers, I am sure they will prevail hahahahahahahahahah (evil laugh!!!)

Stogie said...

Stogie Jr., now you know how I felt in 1962!

Bro, I hope our father haunts you good!

bro said...

He can't haunt me, he sleeps till resurrection and I will see him again.

"1st thess 4 14": For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which SLEEP in Jesus will God bring with him.

Stogie said...

Says you.

BRO said...


Stogie said...

You and Jr. have your beliefs and I have mine, and mine are not limited to what it says in the Bible.

Anonymous said...

The Giants lost to the Angels in the 2002 not 2003 World Series.

Stogie said...

Anon, you're right. I will make that correction.

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